Squeezing the Poor for Fun

Eduardo PorterArizona, where I was born, in July became the first state to cut poor families’ access to welfare assistance to a maximum of 12 months over a lifetime. That’s a fifth of the time allowed under federal law, and means that 5,000 more people will lose their benefits by next June.

This is only the latest tightening of the screws in Arizona. Last year, about 29,000 poor families received benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, 16,000 fewer than in 2005. In 2009, in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Depression of the 1930s, benefits were cut by 20 percent.

And if Paul Ryan, the Republican lawmaker from Wisconsin who is expected to become speaker of the House, has his way, poor people in many other states can expect similar treatment in the years ahead.

—Eduardo Porter
A Strategy to Ignore Poverty

31 thoughts on “Squeezing the Poor for Fun

  1. There’s a perennial favorite proposal in these parts (Florida panhandle/armpit of the Bible Belt). It’s to provide the homeless with a bus ticket back to wherever they came from. I don’t know why it’s assumed they aren’t grown locally — social benefits here are minimal and controlled by evangelicals. Somehow these people think that such a situation draws the poor like moths to a flame.

    It’s always the way with these heartless idiots — make the lives of the underclass so miserable that they will just go somewhere else.

    • Isn’t there some kind of clever name for it like “Greyhound Therapy” or something? I guess that is when it is done to get rid of the mentally ill. But it seems a large portion of our homeless community is mentally ill. We are such a kind and giving society.

  2. But the private prisons sure do make a mint. As do the charter schools.

    Basically if the voters that matter (the ones who actually do) don’t care or don’t like a program, it keeps going on with these cuts. And those numbers means that number of people who get affected is too small to have any affect.

    • People seemed to figure out hundreds of years ago that private prisons were a bad idea. But that’s American capitalism: forward to the past!

      • Republicans don’t like the past. Or at least the parts that prohibit them from hurting people and making huge profits. And since they also hate education, it means following generations will have to learn the hard way.

        • I always come back to this line from Primary Colors. “Our job is to make it clean. Because if it’s clean, we win. Because our ideas are better.” Conservatism offers nothing but bad ideas at this point.

          • I should probably read or watch that book or movie.

            But it came out when I was too young to care about politics.

              • I heard it had John Travolta in it. Which means at the end, I have to be converted to Scientology. (I kid, I kid)

                    • You young people! “Old” can only apply to films made before 1970. And not all of them. 2001 is not old, for instance.

                    • Now I feel like walking on your lawn.

                      I suppose 1998 wasn’t that long ago. But they usually only keep the major classics around for a long time as the library is pretty small.

                    • I am sending sheep instead. It worked for Woodrow “I Hate Freedom” Wilson.

  3. Elizabeth — In many states, your library can request materials from other libraries. Ask away!

          • I’m sorry. You’ve lost me. I’ve spent the last 12 hours working on a very boring program (AI for a book). And I’m brain dead. And tired.

            • There are airlines now that start with a tiny fee and then add on extras. Like say $100 to London. Then, if you want to have clothing to change into, your luggage costs $50 to take with you. If you want a pilot, that is another $500. Stuff like that.

              You really should not torture yourself like that. I usually order people to bed at hour ten.

                • Well that is good news at least. I am dead tired but my friend Ins Omnia refuses to leave. Plus I just got a book on Josephine Butler and the fight over the Contagious Diseases Act. Obscure history rocks.

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